It Finally Happened: Politics Has Ruined Everything Fun

Not that long ago, I could get away from the dystopian news environment and relax.  I'd spend my weekends at the movies, chatting with friends over a latte or watching football on my oversized 4K TV, all things that bring a smile, take me away – just good old-fashioned fun.  But one after another, these treasured pastimes have become something else – a reminder of the dark times we live in, another forum for angry political discourse.  In their zeal to control every aspect of our lives, liberal activists have left no stone unturned. 

My first casualty was the movies.  Nothing saves you from reality more than a good flick.  But  one by one, my favorite Hollywood stars publicly inserted themselves into politics.  Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck are on the growing list of actors and actresses who feel compelled to take stands on issues that have nothing to do with their films. 

Now, I'd like to be the bigger person and not let personal politics affect my entertainment choices, but the fact is, their foray into politics changes my perception.  Now, instead of seeing these actors and actresses as the characters they so brilliantly portray, I see the man behind the curtain, the flawed person behind the illusion.  Gone are the days when I can separate the activist actor from his performance.  Now their reality is in my face.   

Same with authors.  I've faithfully followed Stephen King and J.K. Rowling throughout their writing careers.  But these successful authors weren't content with fame and fortune; they craved influence in the political arena.  So as in Hollywood, they chose to share their political views with their readers, to yank us out of their superbly written fiction and back to the real world.

Fortunately, my cappuccino addiction allowed me to ignore Starbucks's political correctness for quite a while.  Even though Starbucks tweeted rainbows over gay marriage and had their baristas chat up customers on left-wing subjects (though that didn't last long), it was background noise, not enough to separate me from my espresso.  But when the Starbucks CEO publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, when the media made that endorsement breaking news, I got the message.  As a result, I'm no longer lulled into euphoria by Starbucks's artsy ambience or caffeine; now I'm burdened by the same oppressive feelings I get when I watch the news or read a paper.  Dark, sad, depressing.

Of course, I should be grateful that the CEO killed the buzz – it's going to save me over $1,000 a year.  Yet it's like losing a good friend.  A sad day.

I can't even shop in peace these days.  Target was my all-time favorite store – bright, well-lit, with fun displays and great products.  But Target couldn't allow that cheerful joviality in their stores.  Nope – they had to step in and take a stand against 99.7% of their customer base.  They proudly issued a policy that anyone – man, woman, pervert, pedophile – can use the bathroom of his choice.  The result: I don't shop at Target anymore, because the stigma of politics has infected the store and because I'm hesitant to use the bathroom. 

But I still had football, right?  Wrong.  Before we could kick off the season, a fading star named Colin Kaepernick had some kind of epiphany that he could change the world by sitting out the National Anthem.  The right vs. left media made Colin's sit-out national headlines for weeks – he has the right, 1st Amendment vs. he's an ungrateful millionaire spitting on the country that made him great, and on and on.  But they miss the point: I don't care.  Whatever these sports icons think, I really and truly don't care.  Just play ball.

Once the media gets its hooks in a contentious story, there's no going back.  So I'm treated to more political posturing from those who joined Colin's sit-out or knee-out or whatever.  As with Starbucks, I did my best to move past Colin and enjoy the game, but the political spin soon engulfed football until I had to turn away yet again.

So here I am.  No more cappuccinos, very few movies, limited reading, Walmart instead of Target, and now no football.  What's left?  Well, not one to give up, I'm planning a trip to Disney World.  Of course, Disney still has time to ruin my magical plans with political crap, so I have to admit I'm nervous.

Will Mickey Mouse boycott his own Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party to make a statement for PETA on rodent rights?  I mean, the trap thing is pretty barbaric. 

My worst nightmare is that Cinderella, Belle, Elsa, and other princesses could show up in pantsuits, no makeup or jewelry, and unwashed, limp hair, to show that princesses don't have to be dressed in elegant, sparkling gowns or be ethereal to play the part. 

I pray that none of these scenarios will materialize.  I'm looking forward to this trip and would hate to cancel.  No, I wouldn't cancel because I disagree with their politics; I haven't got what it takes to sacrifice something I love to make a statement.  I'd cancel because politics again dumped on my fantasy world and sucked the joy out of my trip.  I'd cancel because the dark, hateful world of news and politics is stalking me, targeting and infecting every enjoyable part of my life.  My only defense is to give up those indulgences and move on.  When it stops being fun, I stop doing it. 

Elvis Presley summed it up perfectly when filming the musical Roustabout.  The director, John Rich, wasn't particularly impressed with Elvis's entourage hanging around and playing practical jokes on one another.  When Rich approached Elvis about his traveling companions clowning around and disrupting, Elvis didn't back down from his director.  He told Rich,  "When these damn movies cease to be fun, I'll stop doing them."

Cheers, Elvis.  Couldn't have said it better myself.

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